Význam Díla G. K. Chestertona pro myšlení Ferdinanda Peroutky
The Influence of Chesterton on the Thinking of Ferdinand Peroutka
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In the Bohemian Lands between the two world wars, G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was among the English authors most translated into Czech. Despite his Roman Catholicism, conservative politics (which led him even to sympathize with Mussolini), and his rejection of Modernist culture, in this country Chesterton was for the most part considered a modern writer who appealed to a wide range of readers and writers. Some of these Czech men of letters (Karel Capek, Ferdinand Peroutka, and Miroslav Rutte) advocated pragmatism and liberalism; others (Karel Teige, Bedrich Václavek, and Jan Werich) were members of the avant-garde; few were Roman Catholic (Alfred Fuchs, Dominik Pecka, and Timoteus Vavrinec Vodicka) - the last named of whom wrote a book about Chesterton, which one-sidedly emphasized Chesterton's Neo-Thomist inspiration. Although William James approvingly quoted Chesterton in his book on pragmatism and the Polish literary historian Waclaw Borowy pointed out the links between Chesterton and pragmatism in the 1920s, this sort of interpretation of Chesterton's works was rare outside the Bohemian Lands. By contrast, in this country this interpretation predominated and Chesterton was considered a pragmatist also by authors who rejected him precisely for this reason, usually in debates with Karel Capek, whether the Roman Catholic Jaroslav Durych, the Marxist Zdenek Nejedlý, or F. X. Salda. These authors rejected Chesterton's 'petty-bourgeois qualities', but, paradoxically, it was Chesterton's resistance to liberal democracy (as well as the fantasy quality of his fiction) that attracted Václavek. Peroutka (whom in this context could scarcely be called a liberal) shared Chesterton's distrust of the market economy; whereas Chesterton proposed the redistribution of property to small owners ('distributism'), Peroutka saw socialism as a necessary step towards achieving a more just society (since socialism and conservatism were both opposed to liberalism). For Peroutka Chesterton's Christian-based emphasis on the ordinary man and the fundamental equality of all people was an inspiration. The Czech liberalism of the First Republic (1918-38) is usually, in part justifiably, reproached for its not being 'anchored'. Peroutka's interest in Chesterton's views could therefore have constituted an attempt at a more profound metaphysical anchoring of his own political opinions. This attempt was, however, paradoxical, since Peroutka did not recognize Chesterton's religious starting point.
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